Arizona Marriage Protection, Proposition 102 (2008)

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Arizona Proposition 102, known by its supporters as the Marriage Protection Amendment, appeared on the November 4, 2008 ballot in Arizona as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. It amended the Arizona Constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman.

2008 election results

Arizona Proposition 102
Yes or no Votes Percentage
15px-600px-Yes check.png Yes 1,258,353 56.2%
No 980,751 43.8%
Total votes 2,239,104 100% precincts

Results according to the Arizona Secretary of State as of November 19, 2008. These results are unofficially pending the official canvass on December 1, 2008. [1]

Same-sex marriage is already prohibited in Arizona, and Arizona courts have upheld that ban. Proponents argued that a constitutional amendment provides a higher legal level of protection for their preferences about same-sex marriage than does a statute. In particular, that a constitutional amendment will withstand judicial scrutiny better than a statute.

Arizona is the only state whose voters have rejected a same-sex marriage ban. The 2006 rejection of Proposition 107 was widely attributed to provisions interpreted to prohibit government recognition of domestic partnerships and civil unions. [2]

Twenty-six states have constitutional amendments that bar the recognition of same-sex marriage.

Supporters

Senate President Tim Bee, R-Tucson, and fifteen other Republican state Senators sponsored the bill in the state legislature to put Proposition 102 on the ballot. House Speaker Jim Weiers and 30 other members of the House proposed an identical bill. The group Yes for Marriage subsequently became the official campaign organization in favor of the ballot initiative.

Supporters include:

  • Tim Bee, R-Tucson
  • Jim Weiers
  • Center for Arizona Policy
  • John McCain[3]

Donors to Yes on 102 campaign

Through October 22, about $7.6 million had been raised by financial donors to the "Yes on 102" campaign. This is approximately 17 times the amount that opponents have raised.[4],[5], [6]

Some of the larger donors to the campaign include:[7]

  • Wilford and Kathleen Andersen, Mesa, $100,000
  • LeSueur Family Trust, Mesa, $100,000
  • TTEE's Wagner Family Trust, Peoria, $100,000
  • Jeff and Holly Whiteman, Mesa, $100,000
  • Derek and Danielle Wright, Peoria, $100,000
  • Pete King Corporation, Phoenix, $100,000
  • Crisis Pregnancy Centers of Greater Phoenix, $100,000

In December, Dan Frazier, who describes himself as a "gay rights supporter", filed a complaint against the "Yes for Marriage" committee with the Arizona Secretary of State on the grounds that when the campaign filed its mandatory financial disclosure forms throughout the campaign, it listed an occupation for only about one out of five of its donors. Election official Joe Kanefield, acting on the complaint, sent a letter to the "Yes for Marriage" campaign. The campaign provided Kanefield with "several hundred pages of affidavits saying the information had been requested from the donors". Kanefield says that this satisfies the legal requirements.[8]

Supporting arguments

Supporters made the following general claims in support of the amendment:

  • In May, 2008 California judges voted to redefine marriage.
  • On October 10, 2008 Connecticut judges also voted to redefine marriage.
  • The same thing can happen here.
  • A “YES” vote prevents judges and politicians from redefining marriage and leaves marriage’s essential meaning in the hands of the people of Arizona.

"Yes on 102" campaign video

Opposition

According to Barbara McCullogh Jones, Executive Director of Equality Arizona, "No one can deny this bill was nothing more than a referendum on the LGBT community – a political fundraiser to fuel the anti-gay industry in Arizona."

The website Vote No On Prop 102 has been created to oppose the ballot amendment.

  • Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Phoenix
  • Grace St. Paul's Episcopal Church
  • Congregation M'kor Hayim
  • Mosaic United Methodist Church
  • St. Francis in the Foothills United Methodist Church[9]

Opposing Arguments

Opponents made the following general claims against the amendment:

  • Voters already rejected this amendment in 2006.
  • Lawmakers should trust and respect the will of the voters.[10]
  • Arizona has more important issues to address.[11]
  • Propositions like 102 do not protect the sanctity of marriage, but do amount to an undue involvement of government in people's private decisions.[12]

"No on 102" campaign video

Polls

See also Polls, 2008 ballot measures.

A statewide telephone poll of 976 registered voters was conducted by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University and Eight/KAET-TV.[13]

The poll found:

Month of Poll In Favor Opposed Undecided
Sept 2008 49 percent 42 percent 9 percent

Path to the ballot

In the final hours of the state legislative session in late June, state senators voted to place the measure on the November 2008 ballot.[14],[15] The Arizona State Senate voted 16-4, overwhelmingly in favor of placing the measure on the ballot.[16]

Investigation of debate conduct

On July 27, the Ethics Committee of the Arizona Senate voted 3-2 on Monday to formally investigate a complaint filed by state senator Ken Cheuvront, D-Phoenix, that Republican Sen. Jack Harper broke Senate rules on June 27, the last day of the 2008 legislative session, when he ended the filibuster tactics of other state senators seeking to postpone or prevent the vote to put Prop. 102 on the ballot.

The complaint accuses Harper of "abruptly" transferring the right to speak from one of the senators participating in the filibuster to a supporter of Prop. 102.[17]

The Senate Ethics Committee voted along party lines 3-2, to dismiss the complaint on August 12, 2008. [18]

External links

Basic information

Supporters

Opponents

References

  1. Arizona Elections Division, 2008 Election Results
  2. Fox News: "AZ marriage measure dies after rights added for unmarried couples," April 3, 2008
  3. azfamily.com: "Proposition defining man-woman marriage is back on the ballot," Oct 6, 2008
  4. Arizona Central: "160 donors back state marriage measure," September 7, 2008
  5. Gay & Lesbian Times, "Arizona marriage ban advocates vastly out-fundraise opposition", October 9, 2008
  6. Arizona Republic, "Big money behind some ballot props", October 27
  7. Arizona Capitol Times, "Individuals donate big money to marriage amendment", October 7, 2008
  8. Yuma Sun, "State: Backers of gay marriage ban did not properly fill out campaign donor list", December 30, 2008
  9. DailyWildcat.com: "Prop. 102 another cause for concern," Oct 1, 2008
  10. Tucson Weekly, "Familiar Feeling; After making history in 2006, Arizona voters again have to decide on the definition of marriage", September 25, 2008
  11. Arizona Explorer, "No on 102", October 8, 2008
  12. Tucson Citizen, "No on 102: Keep government out of our private lives", October 11, 2008
  13. AZpbs.org: "Cronkite-Eight Poll," September 30th, 2008
  14. Arizona Central: "Legislature puts gay marriage proposal on ballot," June 27, 2008
  15. Associated Press: "Arizona puts gay marriage ban on ballot, again," June 27, 2008
  16. CitizenLink.org: "Good News: Arizona Marriage Amendment Headed to Ballot," Jun. 30, 2008
  17. Tucson Citizen: "State senator faces ethics probe in same-sex marriage debate," July 29, 2008
  18. East Valley Tribune, "Ethics committee tosses debate complaint," August 12, 2008

Additional reading